Monday 20 August 2018

No rules - a fashion season of extremes and contradictions


Houndstooth jacket, €2,980; matching trousers, €1,300, both Christian Dior; mules, €525, Balenciaga
Houndstooth jacket, €2,980; matching trousers, €1,300, both Christian Dior; mules, €525, Balenciaga

What has come as a big new insight to me is how the rules of fashion have changed so much. Even as recently as 10 years ago, there were things that were 'in', which then went 'out'. Everyone who followed fashion slavishly observed 'the trends'.

As I watched Brown Thomas's recent fantastic autumn/winter high-end international designer fashion show, I noticed my responses to the extremes of this season's fashion - trench coats with shoulders as wide as those then-70-something Angela Lansbury wore in Murder She Wrote circa 1992; strikingly modernist tailoring looks, with a nod to 1940s film noir; body-clinging knitted midi dresses - and realised that truly, today, anything and everything goes.

Finally, we have abolished the need to constantly change everything. There is no such thing as something being out of date. So rock your favourite pieces from 20 years ago with today's - you will still look great.

"It is a season of extremes and seeming contradictions," Shelly Corkery, Brown Thomas group fashion director, explains. "It is about sharper fashion - but softness is still in there. Minimalism is important, but maximalism is still there, too. The trapeze shape is here still. But the waist and strong shoulders are also a key focus. There is that whole hard-edged, architectural fashion look, and there is that whole soft, floral thing.

"For sure, fashion is moving into being about more powerful women than before, which is expressed in all the sartorial dressing and strong silhouettes" she says.

"Hero tailoring is the new thing we are talking about this season. And it looks fantastic on women - of all ages, all walks of life."

Considering all the gender-equality debates raging in Ireland in recent times, such is the wonder of fashion that it is reflecting our desire for equality and recognition.

"I feel that women will always want a feminine look, regardless of what might be on-trend," Shelly says. "This season, between the focus on the waist and the bigger shoulder, she will have all the femininity she wants, with the power she needs."

Photography by Michael Dwornik

Styling by Darren Feeney

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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